Chicago train crash driver who ‘fell asleep’ is sacked
32 people were injured when train left track and ran part-way up an escalator
A derailed commuter train rests on an escalator at O’Hare international airport in Chicago March 24th, 2014. Thirty-two people were injured after a Chicago Transit Authority train derailed and hit a platform at O’Hare International Airport early on Monday. Photograph: Reuters
Chicago transit officials have fired a train operator who dozed off and did not wake up until cars jumped the end of the track at O’Hare International Airport and ran part-way up an escalator and stairs, a spokeswoman said.
More than 30 people were injured, though none seriously, when the Chicago Transit Authority train crashed early on the morning of March 24th.
The train operator, who investigators and the CTA did not identify, had been on the job for 60 days and admitted to dozing off before the crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
She also admitted to overrunning a station in February.
The transit authority may terminate an operator for two serious safety violations under its contract with the union for those workers, CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said.
Referring to the March 24th crash, Ms Chase said, “an incident of this severity is sufficient for termination.”
The train was traveling at about 42km/h when it entered the station, a normal speed, and tripped an emergency braking system beside the track that failed to stop it before the impact, according to the NTSB.
The CTA said it would lower the speed limit for trains entering the station to 24km/h and move up the trip switches to engage emergency braking earlier on trains exceeding the limit.
Mr Kelly said in March the woman had worked more than 60 hours in seven days before the crash.
The CTA last night announced it had changed its operator scheduling policies as the result of an internal review after the crash at O’Hare.
The changes include a 12-hour maximum of train operation duties in a 14-hour period and an increase in the minimum time for rest between shifts from eight to 10 hours.
The CTA will also set a weekly 32-hour limit for operators to run trains if they have less than one year of experience and requiring all rail operation employees to take at least one day off in any seven-day period.
The crash in March was the second in recent months involving an apparently out-of-control CTA train.
In September, an unmanned CTA train ran onto active tracks and collided with a standing train at a suburban Chicago station during the morning rush hour, injuring at least 33 people.